Set Boundaries (3)
“Like a city with broken-down walls.” Pr 25:28 NLT
Permeable boundaries. Well-adjusted people find the right balance between protecting their personal space, and allowing others to infiltrate, manipulate and dominate them. They know how to say yes to what’s healthy and no to what’s not. Permeable boundary people, on the other hand, allow others to permeate their lives at will, siphon off their time and energy, dictate their options, and deprive them of other important relationships. Unable to say no, they permit others to make them feel guilty, obligated, uncaring, or even “unchristian” if they withhold what’s demanded. They inconvenience themselves, their families and their friendships to facilitate the endless demands of the seemingly helpless, disempowered, irresponsible user, believing they are being kind and helpful. The “helper’s” toll is immense, often leading to emotional, physical, social and spiritual overload, while the “helpee” feels increasingly dependent, irresponsible and entitled, not appreciating, and sometimes even resenting the helper’s efforts. Permeable boundary people are unaware that their “open” sign is always illuminated, attracting a deluge of other people’s needs they feel personally responsible for. They carry the weight of much that’s wrong in the world, feeling exhausted, anxious, inadequate and guilty, taking it personally that they can’t do more and fix things. And it leaves them feeling “used.” “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Understand this: You can’t take charge of your own life while you’re overwhelmed feeling responsible for other people’s lives. Set some boundaries, and live the life God gave you to live!